Best Director - Motion Picture
Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
James Cameron - Avatar
Clint Eastwood - Invictus
Jason Reitman - Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds
As of today, the only film I have seen from this list is Avatar, which I posted about last night. It was a great film, and James Cameron has an incredible vision when it comes to directing (rumor has it he's been sitting on this movie for 10 years waiting for technology to catch up), but do I feel that he deserves the award for Best Director? Not really. One of the things that I feel makes a great director is coaxing fantastic performances out of your actors, and he didn't succeed in this film. Since I haven't seen any of the others, though, I'd just like to say that, in a way, I'd like to see Kathryn Bigelow win, just because I have rarely seen a woman win best director and it'd be nice to see a smaller director take down the towering giants that are in this category. I mean, seriously. James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino, AND Clint Eastwood are all in this category this year? All of them have won at least one Oscar before, and it would be nice to see someone who's not one of the big shots get an award. I wouldn't mind seeing Jason Reitman win, either, since I've enjoyed most of his other movies and Up in the Air is one that I'd really like to see. This isn't to say that I'll be unhappy if any of those other three win, but it's a little "Ho hum, of course they won" to me. I'd like a little bit of a surprise.
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell - District 9
Mark Boal - The Hurt Locker
Nancy Meyers - It's Complicated
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner - Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds
This is one category that I can't fake my way through. Having seen none of these movies, I can't say which of them deserves the award. Sorry for my lack of insight here, folks.
Best Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Penelope Cruz - Nine
Vera Farmiga - Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Mo'Nique - Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Julianne Moore - A Single Man
I can't say much about the performances in these movies, once again, but I love Penelope Cruz and Julianne Moor. At the same time, they're both such big name actresses that I wouldn't mind seeing an underdog top them. However, I am slightly biased against Anna Kendrick for appearing in Twilight and New Moon. I hate that franchise, and I lose respect for anyone who takes part in it. I really wish I'd seen more of these movies so I could give a more educated opinion, but life doesn't always work that way.
Best Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Matt Damon - Invictus
Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
Christopher Plummer - The Last Station
Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
I've already talked about my great admiration for Matt Damon, and I've heard amazing things about his performance in Invictus. I'm also a huge fan of Christopher Plummer. I love most of his more recent works and, of course, I will always think of him as Captain Von Trapp. Just judging from the amazing cast list, I am now dying to see The Last Station and am pretty sure that it will blow me away. So many wonderful actors! I also adore Stanley Tucci, and I've never seen him in a role like this one before. I'm sure that his character in The Lovely Bones was a huge challenge, and, knowing him, I'm sure he did a fantastic job, so I wouldn't mind seeing him win. I'm not as keen on Woody Harrelson or Christoph Waltz, but I haven't seen any of these films so I can't comment on their performances here and which of these great actors deserves the award most. I can only say that, once again, I think this list is chock full of winners, and I'm really excited to see yet another category in which I can't predict the outcome.
Best Animated Film
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The only movie in this category that I did not want to see was Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. I'm sorry, but I don't understand how such a simple book can become a good film. I would love to see Coraline, but I'm not sure if I'd like it to win. I'm getting a wee bit tired of Tim Burton, since all his movies are so bizarre and kind of start running together in my mind. To me, Tim Burton is the more mainstream, slightly less wacky version of Terry Gilliam, and Gilliam is one of my favorite directors. I'm excited to see The Princess and the Frog, mostly because I've been getting so sick of all this 3D computer animation. I'm an old school Disney fan at heart. I liked the two dimensional Princess movies, you know? I'm really happy to see Disney starting to return to their roots. Despite that, I'm not sure it merits the award for Best Animated Film. Honestly, I think it's going to come down to a battle between Up and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I have yet to see Up, but I've heard amazing things about it, and it looked really good. However, my vote goes to The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was a brilliant movie that felt like a Roald Dahl book and was (blissfully) a change in style from all the other animated movies that have been coming out. It was cute, funny, and complex. There were so many layers to the jokes, and I'm sure I'd get so much more if I watched it a second time. Wes Anderson really outdid himself with this one, and I'm hoping to see it take home the award. Besides, we all know that Disney can make a good animated film. It would be nice to see someone beat them for once, especially if that someone isn't yet another animating mogul.
Best Foreign Language Film
Broken Embraces/Los Abrazos Rotos
The Maid/La Nana
A Prophet/Un Prophéte
The White Ribbon/Das Weisse Band
To be honest, the only film from this list that I've even heard of is Broken Embraces, and I'd really like to see it. However, I'm always painfully ignorant in this category, since foreign films usually only come to select theaters and play for short periods of time. Just more movies to add to my list.
Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Michael Giacchino - Up
Marvin Hamlisch - The Informant
James Horner - Avatar
Abel Korzeniowski - A Single Man
Carter Burwell & Karen O. - Where the Wild Things Are
The only scores that I have any in depth knowledge about are Avatar and Where the Wild Things Are, so I'll talk about those. Avatar's score fit with the feeling of the movie, but it was a little too much like one of those generic epic scores. There were parts that sounded like they were straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean and other parts that reminded me a lot of The Lord of the Rings. Besides, other than the parts that reminded me of something else, the score didn't really stand out to me the way I find a fantastic score does. In Where the Wild Things Are, I found myself really noticing the music and loving it. I would love to see it win, because it was so fresh and original and didn't feel like, "Oh, they stole this from (Insert Movie Here)." Actually, the score that I feel is wrongfully missing from this list is from The Brothers Bloom. I realize that it wasn't a hugely popular film, but the music was amazing. I actually have the soundtrack on my ipod and love listening to it. It was original, catchy, and just fantastic, so I wish that it could have made this list.
Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"Cinema Italiano", Music & Lyrics By: Maury Yeston - Nine
"I Want to Come Home", Music & Lyrics By: Paul McCartney - Everybody's Fine
"I Will See You", Music By: James Horner & Simon Franglen, Lyrics By: James Horner, Simon Franglen & Kuk Harrell - Avatar
"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)", Music & Lyrics By: Ryan Bingham & T Bone Burnett - Crazy Heart
"Winter", Music By: U2, Lyrics By: Bono - Brothers
I haven't heard any of these songs that stuck out to me, so I can't say which deserves to win. I'm sure it will be an interesting race, though.
Coming Soon: My thoughts on the TV shows also nominated for this year's Golden Globes.